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Showing off in worldly matters

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question Summary

Is showing off in worldly matters considered minor shirk? Does this carry the same sin as showing off in religious matters?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Minor association (shirk) specifically applies to religious matters. This is because sincerity is an integral part of the acceptance of one’s worship.

Imam Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) explains that ostentation or showing off worldly matters is not considered shirk. However, doing so puts one in jeopardy of showing off in religious matters. This is because the human ego naturally enjoys being praised and enjoys attention; if it becomes accustomed to these worldly matters, it will seek more.

Sincerity in All Matters

The more one begins to learn about Allah’s greatness and His blessings upon one; they are less likely to have portions of their life, worldly or religious, in which Allah Most High is not their main goal.

As one draws nearer to Allah Most High, they begin to see every opportunity as a chance of a good deed. They will endeavor in worldly matters with religious intentions. They will earn and spend for the sake of Allah. They will see all their blessings, whether it be faith itself, a nice watch, or even athletic talent, as a gift from Allah Most High.

Allah Most High says, “Whatever you have of blessings it is from Allah…” [Qur’an; 16:53]


Although showing off in worldly matters is not sinful, it is dangerous as it could lead to multiple ailments of the spiritual heart. Showing off in religious matters is one of these likely ailments; however, another, which is just as severe, self-conceit, is also a possible consequence.

Self-conceit is to ascribe the credit of any blessing to other than Allah Most High. Every blessing that one may have is to be ascribed to Allah Most High. This is the definition of Al-Hamdu lillah – All praise is for Allah. ‘All praise’ denotes that one should not associate in the credit of anyone other than Allah.

One may receive a blessing utilizing someone or something; however, the means is just that a means. It is like someone who sends a letter to their mother via the mailman. If the mother were to praise the mailman for the letter, she has not shown gratitude to the real source of that letter.

Actions are Based on Their Intentions

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “All actions are based on their intentions.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

Try to seek Allah Most High in all you do. See things like the watch or talent as a blessing for Allah Most High. As best as you can, don’t allow your heart to take credit for these things. Show gratitude for them by having righteous intentions in them and pleasingly using them for Allah Most High.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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